My eyes abide the blighted light
of the yellow-leafed tree.
Please set my stone here
and let us both rest.
But please stop and listen —
I know you can hear it,
the grief in my spirit,
and you see the fraying of my days,
my finite breaths
I still lean into old memories,
away from you,
away from who
I wanted to be.
I did not expect to be loved so well.
We sit cross-legged on the scatter rug and listen to the rain peck at the windows. The water fractures itself against the screen and it draws patterns I want to trace with my fingers. We have a box of candles on the kitchen table, for when the dark comes back inside. She leans into me whenever the rain turns loud, and her face is solemn and so still. Outside, the wind carves itself into the hickory trees. She can’t hear me offer up comfort, so I lean back into her. We listen. We wait.
Forty years on,
she follows the path of his ghost,
a slender and thorned road
that leads to a ruined ecstasy.
Above the carpeted dirt,
she remembers the boy’s twitching mouth,
so unaccustomed to casual pleasure,
and the slow burn of tobacco between them.
The last of the afternoon light
dripped between the hemlocks
and fell upon bare shoulders.
And she, alone, still wonders
if he ever smelled the gunpowder.
Flat boxes of fiveses and sixeses
minuteses of sleep
wrapped with gray burlap readies to tear
bound by loopy stringses
We stare at the lines, divided,
you and I stark and misguided,
worn dull by day’s exhausted breath
we move on by hope of certain rest;
by day and by step, with faith our bequest
and by trust, and what it will cost us.
Lilac leaves are the surest sign that spring has stopped teasing. Although the flowers rarely last more than a week here, the leaves possess their own silky beauty. I’ve photographed them many times over the years, and they always draw me back for more.